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resilient housing seismic logoBuilding to Resist Earthquakes

Better understanding of seismic forces has led to new products and building techniques.

Follow this Red Cross Checklist if your home is threatened by an earthquake. Click here to download

Information you need to design, build and prepare homes for extreme weather and natural disasters.

Details:  Strengthening a Vulnerable Design

  • Soft Floor Design Flaw

    Deadly Errors. Many lowrise building designs include parking areas or poorly reinforced retail space. This has proven to be a major collapse point during quakes. But most weaknesses can be addressed with remedial reinforcement of three types, shown on the following slides.

  • Column Spacing. In some cases, simply adding more structural columns increases seismic resistance. But building with slender first floor columns are not necessarily weak. If lateral forces are addressed with sheer walls, column sizes take on less importance.

  • Add Bracing

    Key Concern. Especially where the base of the building is completely open, bracing can take the place of shear walls. In an earthquake, lateral forces are typically the ones most likely to cause major collapse.

  • Add Buttresses

    Space Saver. If loss of indoor space is a big concern, the ancient technique of applying external buttresses can accomplish the same strengthening as other techniques.. Source: Fema 454: Designing for Earthquakes

anchor bolt with wedgePRO TIP: CHECK FOUNDATIONS. A study of single-family homes in Coalinga Calif.,after an earthquake found that 15% had moved off their foundations. Add expanding anchor bolts (shown), epoxy bolts and/or mudsill plates to existing homes to ensure good anchoring. 


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ZIP System R-Sheathing in Seismic Controlled Regions

ZIP System R-Sheathing panels may be used to resist lateral shear forces by prescriptive or engineered methods in accordance with the International Building and Residential Codes.

Learn more


Mudsill Plates. Tests show that adding these metal plates to wood sills can more than double the performance of concrete anchor bolts. Read more about their performance Here.